7 Steps to Turn Your Idea Into a Real iPhone App

1. Prepare the tools


  • join the Apple iPhone Developer Program ($99)
  • get an iPhone or iPod Touch
  • prepare an Intel-based Mac computer with Mac OS X 10.5.5
  • a Non-Disclosure Agreement for hiring a developer (NDA)
  • install the iPhone SDK. This SDK contains the complete Apple Xcode Cocoa development environment.


2. Start your project in Xcode. Using the project templates can save you a lot of time.

3. Design the user interface for your app

Drag-and-drop interface design is really not hard at all. You can also take advantage of the iPhone GUI Photoshop template or the iPhone PSD Vector Kit. Both of them are collections of iPhone GUI elements that you may need.

4. Code your app

If you have used Objective C/Cocoa before, then open Xcode and get started!

You can join these forums for more helpful technical information:


  • Apple Dev Forum
  • iPhoneSDKForum
  • iPhoneDev Forums


There are also some tricks and tips that can help:


  • Don’t do everything from start. You can find a similar app and have your own code integrated instead.
  • Search for a code snippet or fragment that can help the stuck part of your coding.
  • Don’t follow the crowd. There are many apps in the market having the same bodily-function-oriented structure. You can start something different.


5. Build your app

Using the Xcode iPhone Simulator, you can try your app before actual testing on a real iPhone or iPod touch. You must get a Provisioning Profile from the iPhone Program Portal to add testers to your project. You can access to this portal using your iPhone Developer Program subscription.

6. Test your app on a real iPhone and iPod Touch

First, you must code-sign your app. You can access to the same iPhone Program Portal above to get these certificates. However, it can be hard to have your app successfully code-signed and test on a real iPhone. See the note below for more help.

7. Keep testing and optimize your app before start to promote it

Important note: If you don’t know anything about coding, you certainly can find some developer to work for you.

In fact, many people have been successful by hiring someone do all the app development.

However, it’s NOT as easy as it sounds.

You still need to know clearly about the process and be professional right from the beginning if you don’t want to be tricked by some bad developers. They can steal your idea, or they can give you a badly coded app and tell you that it’s qualified.

Here are some tips:


  • To prevent people from stealing your idea, before asking a developer to work for you, ask them to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).
  • You can give your idea to the developer by giving them the sketches you drew when you worked your idea. You should make it clear about how you want your app to be.
  • Getting an iPhone app developed by a professional developer can cost much ($500 – $10,000 or more!). You should contact multiple developers asking for a quote for your app. Then you may be able to save a lot of fund by choosing the suitable one.
  • Although you may not know anything about coding, you still need to know how to test your own app. You don’t want to be spend money on a bad product, your customers don’t either. You need to know how your app perform before taking it out to market, or it can be a real disaster.
  • To find your developer, you can go to elance.com or odesk.com.


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